North Carolina recently banned gay marriage as a constitutional right shocking the entire country and creating an even greater divide between those for gay rights and those opposed. One day after this took place, President Obama announced his support for union among all, regardless of sexual orientation in an interview with ABC News; the first president publicly in favor of gay marriage.
"At a certain point, I've just concluded, that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told ABC News.
States determine whether citizens are allowed to be married homosexually or heterosexually. While the federal government cannot force states to enforce same-sex marriage or ban same-sex marriage, opinions on Obama’s stance was indeed murmured throughout school hallways, work offices, and religious establishments.
Gay rights have been a major issue in America for quite some time. While many view Obama’s public announcement was a political stunt to gain the younger generation, many others applaud Obama for making such a statement.
Prior to Obama’s statement, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke out on their opposing gay rights beliefs. Biden strongly endorsed gay marriage while Romney disagreed and stood firmly against gay marriage in his statement, “ … but my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman and that's my own preference,” Romney said.
Obama has not always been an advocate for gay rights, that is before he considered the thoughts of his two young girls, Malia and Sasha. They believed that choice in preference should not result in unfair treatment or challenge their American rights, which further instilled the same thought for President Obama. His daughters perspective further opened his eyes reevaluating his position towards gay rights and gay marriage.
Opening up about his beliefs on same-sex marriage has sparked a discussion amongst those for Obama running a second presidency and those not; some that voted for him in 2008 are skeptical to do the same in 2012 because of his support for gay rights, especially voters against homosexual lifestyles due to religion.
The counter views have further separated the nation between those in favor of gay rights and those against. Similar to North Carolina, Maine placed on a state ballot whether the state should allow same-sex marriage, while Minnesota is fighting to ban it.
While several states are making their own stances whether in favor or against same-sex marriage, Texas is among the many states that firmly stands on heterosexual couples in more ways than “to death do ye part.” Texas has yet to conform and divert as a state that shows equality no matter your sexual preference.
According to The Guardian, Texas has banned same-sex marriage, allows adoption by only a single person if not a heterosexual couple, does not prohibit discrimination against gays in the workplace, housing, or schools and prohibits hate crimes related to sexual orientation.
Like many states in the northeast, laws have been changed to better accommodate same-sex couples. Vermont, New Jersey, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut all have equal rights laws in place for homosexuals including marriage, adoption, and employment among others. For the most part, the northeast supports same-sex couples along with other scattered states. The southeast has the least amount of support for gay rights with rigid laws against gay marriage.
Currently in Texas, marriage is the union of man and woman further outlawing marriage rights for gays to better accommodate the homosexual community. Since laws are specified by state, Obama’s position on gay marriage cannot force Texas to change their laws, but his statement certainly rang loud for states for or against gay marriage. Whether union should be between man and woman, man and man, or woman and woman is slowly a citizen choice and not a law.
photo credit: http://www.eonline.com/celebs/Barack_Obama/117505